Best Colleges for Hispanic Students
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Hispanic students increased their college enrollment numbers significantly between 2000 and 2020, and continuing efforts are being carried out to improve these numbers further. For example, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) have worked to help these learners gain access to better support systems and educational environments.
The top colleges for Hispanic students offer a combination of specialized educational options, support services, and campus programs. They host events and house research and resource centers that celebrate and immerse students in Latino/a cultures.
The following section includes a ranked list of the best colleges for Hispanic students. To create this ranking, we used our standard methodology to find schools that excel academically. Our team then compared that list to the 313 HACU-member schools in the U.S. to find the best schools for Hispanic, Latino/a, and Chicano/a students.
Read on to learn more about the best colleges for Hispanic students and what makes them special.
Ranking compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team
Best Colleges for Hispanic Students
1. Florida International University, Miami, FL
One of the country's 10 largest universities, Florida International University offers more than 200 program options across 11 schools and colleges. Of the school's over 56,000 students, Hispanic students make up about 61%.
Along with enrolling the third-most Hispanic students among four-year schools, FIU awarded the most bachelor's and master's degrees to Hispanic students in 2019-2020, as per Hispanic Outlook.
In 2021, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs named FIU a Fulbright Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) Leader. In 2022, the school joined the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities, aiming to increase the number of Hispanic doctoral students in its ranks.
2. California State University-Northridge, Northridge, CA
California State University-Northridge enrolls more than 38,000 students, including over 55% Hispanic students. The school features more than 250 programs and awards the second-most bachelor's degrees to Hispanic students in the country, according to Hispanic Outlook. In 2021, CSUN was named a Fulbright HSIs Leader.
As the largest HSI in the CSU system, CSUN was chosen as the site for the Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub. The hub will host student success and employment support services for the underserved Hispanic student population throughout the entire CSU system.
3. The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
The University of Texas at San Antonio enrolls more than 34,000 students, making it the largest university in San Antonio. In 1994, UTSA became one of the first institutions recognized as an HSI. Hispanic students make up 57% of UTSA's undergraduates, and the school boasts the third-largest Hispanic student enrollment in Texas.
In 2022, UTSA helped found the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. According to Hispanic Outlook, the school awarded the ninth-most bachelor's degrees and 15th most master's degrees to Hispanic students in 2019-2020. The school also ranked in the top 10 in business, computer sciences, education, architecture, engineering, and English disciplines.
4. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
The University of New Mexico is the state's flagship university and features 12 colleges and schools and more than 215 programs. According to Hispanic Outlook, the school's over 11,000 Hispanic students represent 44% of the student body. UNM also awarded some of the most bachelor's and master's degrees to Hispanic students nationwide.
UNM hosts the Collaborative for Hispano/Latino Health Equity, which promotes cultural identity, provides professional development support, and develops policies to improve health outcomes for Hispanic students. In 2021, UNM was named a Fulbright HSI Leader among doctoral institutions.
5. University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
The University of Nevada-Las Vegas enrolls nearly 10,000 Hispanic students, more than 32% of its 30,000-plus students. The school was the first university in the state to surpass 25% Hispanic student enrollment. In 2022, UNLV became one of 20 schools to join the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities.
UNLV offers many resources, programs, and support services committed to serving diversity. For example, LatinX Programs coordinates events and groups for Hispanic students, including many of the over 99 cultural-based student organizations at UNLV.
6. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
The largest university in Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago enrolls more than 33,000 students in over 250 programs. About 35% of the student population is Hispanic. In 2021, UIC was named a Fulbright HSI Leader for doctoral institutions.
UIC students have access to many Hispanic-focused resources and centers, including the Hispanic Center of Excellence and Latino Cultural Center. Both facilities strive to improve Hispanic student outcomes and advocate for the community. UIC also hosts more than 15 Hispanic student organizations.
7. CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, NY
CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice enrolls more than 9,000 Hispanic students, about 47% of its student body. The school has incorporated many efforts to make its programs more inclusive, contributing to the large number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students.
John Jay also hosts seminars and working groups, an HSI speaker series, and faculty reflections dedicated to improving Hispanic teaching approaches and student outcomes. The school's Latin American and Latinx Studies Department has developed programs, events, and mentorship opportunities for its many Hispanic students.
8. Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO
With over 7,000 Hispanic students, which is 29% of their student population, Metropolitan State University of Denver enrolls more Hispanic students than any other Colorado school. In 2019, MSU Denver was given the HSI designation. It was a part of a 12-year plan to increase Hispanic enrollment that included adding financial aid initiatives, revising curricula, and reworking the institution's infrastructure.
The school's Latino/a Faculty and Staff Association provides support for the Hispanic community on and off campus. It also provides mentorship and professional development opportunities. MSU Denver's Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion hosts events, runs programs, and provides resources for Hispanic students.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges for Hispanic Students
What are HACU schools?
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents the majority of the nation's Hispanic-serving institutions. HSIs are schools where Hispanic learners make up at least 25% of the student population. HACU represents more than 300 schools across the country.
Which colleges are Hispanic/Latino-friendly?
Many colleges feature a diverse student population and provide services and support for learners from all backgrounds. However, due to their large Hispanic representation, HSIs tend to offer more specialized services, programs, and events. Prospective students can locate HSIs in HACU's database.
Are there any Hispanic-only colleges?
While many schools feature a predominantly Hispanic population, no schools restrict access to other races and ethnicities. However, in many schools in Puerto Rico, such as the University of Puerto Rico-Arecibo, Hispanic students make up 100% of the student population, according to Excelencia in Education.
What university has the largest Hispanic population?
With more than 32,000 Hispanic students, Florida International University boasts the largest population of Hispanic learners in the U.S.